The Kingdom of Thailand is a very popular destination for tourists coming to southeast Asia, with over 10 million visitors per year sampling its irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring temples, outstanding hospitality and superb cuisine. We say ‘sampling’ because one short would not be enough to see or experience everything that Thailand has to offer. Thailand’s cuisine is unique and is regarded by many people as one of the best in the world. What is on offer is so varied that you can literally have a different meal every day of the year. By far one of the key reasons Thailand is such an attraction to visitors is the Thai people themselves. Thailand is often called the “land of smiles”, because it is said that you can see more smiling people here than anywhere else in the world.
The country is made up of 76 provinces each divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. Phuket, “Pearl of the South” is Thailand’s largest and best known island and has long been a favourite destination of visitors from around the world. Thai is one of the oldest languages in East and South-East Asia. It is a monosyllabic language which uses five tones (high, mid, low, rising, and falling tone) to alter the meaning of a single syllable. This makes it difficult to learn for most Westerners used to speaking non-tonal languages. The Thai script consists of 44 consonants and 48 vowels, and is of Sanskrit origin. It was introduced by King Rham Khamhaeng in 1283. There is no universal standard for transliterating Thai into English. For this reason, most language courses recommend that learners master the Thai alphabet.